Well, we have a first here at Autoblog Luggage Test HQ: the first time I’ve done the next-generation of a make/model that’s already been luggage tested. I know, right, very exciting. So, for the first time, I’ll be able to report how a vehicle compares with its immediate predecessor. As this is the Honda Civic hatchback, I can also show you how it compares with the Honda Civic sedan and the mechanically related Acura Integra. So. Many. Comparisons!
In short, the Civic is a definitive example of why you can’t really compare the cargo volume figures of a sedan and a hatchback (or wagon, SUV or other hatchbacked vehicle). The specs say the hatchback has 24.8 cubic-feet of space whereas the Civic sedan has 14.8, yet as I’m about to show you, the sedan actually has more space for holding bags or whatever. This is already a phenomena I covered with the Integra and its 24.3-cubic-foot trunk. Apparently, that half a cube makes a difference as it was indeed easier to load bags into the Civic hatch.
Top Civic hatchback, bottom left Civic sedan, bottom right Integra
Some key observations here with this trio. The Civic sedan is 4 inches longer than the Civic hatchback, almost all of which is behind the rear axle. This lends its trunk greater length than the hatchback, which is more useful for stuffing in luggage. The Civic hatchback (and Integra) have more height, which balloons the cubic-foot number, but doesn’t really provide much help in this test since I don’t pack to the roof for safety, visibility and consistency reasons.
If you lower the back seats, it’s a whole different ballgame, but I’ll get to that later.
Now, to the bags. As in every luggage test I do, I use two midsize roller suitcases that would need to be checked in at the airport (26 inches long, 16 wide, 11 deep), two roll-aboard suitcases that just barely fit in the overhead (24L x 15W x 10D), and one smaller roll-aboard that fits easily (23L x 15W x 10D). I also include my wife’s fancy overnight bag just to spruce things up a bit (21L x 12W x 12D).
You can really see the difference in trunk length here. In the sedan (above right), you can fit the small roller bag behind the four biggest bags lined up. Definitely can’t do that in the hatchback above left.
In short, all the bags fit in all the cars (with some asterisks). It was a much easier fit in the sedan, though, and you can see that there’s some extra space on either side of the egg-crusher hinges. The bags are very much squeezed into the hatchback with the fancy bag stacked on top. It was held in place by the head restraints, however, and didn’t impede visibility to a much greater degree than the fixed head restraints themselves. It was a similar situation in the Integra, but it was definitely a tighter fit with the fancy bag smushed and the need for the cargo cover to be removed.
Speaking of cargo covers …
Like its predecessor, the latest-generation Civic hatchback comes with a unique cargo cover. It goes across the cargo cover from left to right within an easily removed and stored cartridge. As such, I didn’t see the need to run this test with and without the cargo cover in place as I normally do. If you got stuck needing max cargo space and forgot to remove the cargo cover, it wouldn’t matter at all.
I did, however, leave the second cargo cover in place. Picture above, bottom right, it fills in the gap between the cartridge cover and the base of the back window. It did not impede loading whatsoever, but you could remove it if you needed to or chose to.
The Integra basically has one larger rigid cargo cover of this variety, which again, I needed to remove in order to equal the number of bags stored in both Civics. Keep it in place, and you’ll not only be leaving a bag behind, but one of those along for the ride dislodged the cover from its latch point when the hatch was closed.
So, to wrap up the comparison bit, your order is: Civic sedan holds the most luggage and does so easily followed by the Civic hatchback and then the Integra. The gaps between them are all significant.
OK, so now let’s literally expand this discussion of the Civic hatchback’s cargo area …
You cannot stuff that giant box up there in a Civic sedan, but as you obviously see, it did in the hatchback.
You see, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer L wasn’t the only test vehicle that assisted in my recent move. I had an automatic-equipped and very blue Civic Touring about a month after the gray, manual-equipped one pictured above, and definitely put it to good use.
Above left is some luggage, a furniture dolly atop something I don’t remember/can’t identify and a disassembled Little Tykes toddler playground. Above right is medium-sized plastic bin, a home entertainment sound bar and a whole metric crap ton of vacuum storage bags filled with clothes. Not only did all of the above fit in the Civic hatchback with the back seat lowered, the hatchback made it WAAAAAAAY easier to load than it would’ve been in the sedan. And, as we’ve already seen, I enjoyed more space than I would’ve in the Integra.
So, with the back seat raised and when talking about luggage, the sedan is king. The hatchback is considerably more versatile, however, and I would argue that this versatility would likely be more appreciated in the long run.
And wow, I almost forgot: how it compares to the last-generation Civic hatchback I tested in December 2019 in Type R guise (and remember, every new 2023 Civic Type R is a hatchback as well).
As you can see, the Tetris formation was similar, but the fancy bags is far higher and closer to the roof. It’s close to being disallowed by the Luggage Test judges (me). This definitely illustrates the 2 cubic-foot difference between the last Civic hatchback and the new generation.
So, to re-do the order again: Civic sedan, Civic hatchback, old Civic hatchback, Integra.
There, anything else to cover? No? OK, have a nice day. Yay Civics.